Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa, has narrated why she didn’t complete the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme when she enrolled 22 years ago.
The law mandates all Nigerians who graduate from a tertiary institution in or outside Nigeria to undergo NYSC for a period of 12 months. Only those who attained the age of 30 before graduation or those who served in the armed forces or Police for more than nine months, staff of Nigerian security organisations, and those conferred with national honours are exempted from the scheme.
But Musawa, who reportedly enrolled for the scheme but did not complete it, is currently serving in Abuja, a development which the NYSC frowned at.
Eddy Megwa, Director of Public Relations of the scheme, said Musawa was occupying the ministerial position in breach of the NYSC Act.
Speaking with Daily Trust, Megwa explained that it was against the NYSC Act for any corps member to pick up any government appointment until the one-year service was over.
He said Musawa was originally mobilised in 2001 for the youth service to Ebonyi State where she had her orientation programme but later relocated to Kaduna State to continue the programme.
Megwa said it was when she got to Kaduna that she absconded and didn’t complete the programme, adding that the scheme would look into the issue and take action where necessary.
But in a statement which she personally signed on Sunday, Musawa said she started the NYSC programme in 2001 but could not complete it due to family reasons.
The statement reads: “The last couple of days have witnessed barrage of media attacks and misinformation about me following my appointment and swearing-in as the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I want to, again, thank President Tinubu for finding me worthy and for giving me the opportunity to serve the country I love as one of his Ministers.
“It is true I am currently on the NYSC national service which I began 8 months ago as a matter of duty and devotion to my country, having been unable to complete the scheme since I was first mobilised in 2001. I started the mandatory national service as a Corp member deployed to Akwa-Ibom State (pls confirm state) in 2001 upon the completion of my university education. I could not complete the service same year after my redeployment to Kaduna State due to family obligations. Despite this, it has been my personal resolve and commitment that I will always fulfill this national duty whenever I am opportune to do so.
“I applied to NYSC to be mobilised again for national service last year. NYSC graciously mobilised and deployed me to serve in Abuja where I have been serving in the last 8 months before my current appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I will like to state clearly that contrary to wrong insinuations and false assumptions in a section of the mainstream media and social media where false accusations have been made, there is no breach of any law or constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended regarding my current position as a Minister and status as serving Corp member.
“It must be said that there is no law of Nigeria or any part of the our constitution and NYSC Act that states that a serving Corp member can not be appointed by the President of Nigeria or any other appointing authority into political positions. Equally, no part of our existing laws and NYSC Act says that a corps member must finish service before he/she can be appointed into political office. There is no legal and constitutional limitations whatsoever. I have not broken any law of Nigeria.
“I decided to participate in the current NYSC programme in fulfillment of my own personal commitment and out of sense of duty which I am proud of.
“I will continue to serve my country using every opportunity and platform. My current NYSC status which will end in another 4 months will not in anyway impede the discharge of my duties as Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, which, on its own, is a higher call to national service. I use this medium to publicly restate my loyalty and rededicate myself to the service of Nigeria. I will continue to serve faithfully and with all my energy to deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu for a better, greater and more prosperous Nigeria.”
Musawa first experienced setback on the NYSC issue when her nomination as the National Commissioner representing North West on the board of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) was rejected in 202 when former President Muhammadu Buhari nominated her.